On Wednesday, I will be heading out to the American Institute of Architects 2019 National Convention. Attending events like these for me are equal parts wonderful and terrible – at least I hope they are at least equal. I’ve been attending this particular convention each of the past 7 years and for the most part, the locations where they’ve been held have been wonderful;
2012 Washington DC – Just another amazing American City full of amazing architecture and things to do. Even as I am writing this sentence, I am wondering why I haven’t scheduled a personal vacation here.
2013 Denver – Fun location and probably the best host city party I’ve ever attended. This was also the destination where my friendship with my podcast co-host Andrew Hawkins was probably cemented in place.
2014 Chicago – possibly the greatest American City where everything seems amazing. Chicago is the sort of city where I think architects are grown – I don’t know how you could grow up there and not want to become an architect.
2015 Atlanta – it’s called “Hot-lanta” for a reason. I was trying to remember something from this convention and only two things came to mind; the wildly underperforming ac in my hotel room (82° was a low as I could get it) and dinner with an architecture friend of mine from Austin, Texas.
2016 Philadelphia – amazing city and I can’t wait until Philly gets another run at hosting the convention
2017 Orlando – Hmmm. This was the year that I was elevated to Fellow in the AIA so I should have really liked this particular trip, but I didn’t. Orlando is a family vacation destination and the extra-curricular activities were extremely “meh”
2018 New York – only my third time to New York and by far the most architecturally centric. New York really is a great city but getting around between the venues was a nightmare.
And that brings us to 2019 Las Vegas … ugh. As an Architect, I have to say that I am not the biggest fan of Las Vegas. I am not a prude and the seemingly endless amount of vices available to visitors does not offend me – I just don’t indulge in many of the things that make Las Vegas a fun place to visit.
However, it doesn’t mean we aren’t going to have a party.
I released the first episode of the Life of an Architect Podcast on June 14, 2018, right before I left for the AIA National Convention in New York. Since I will be in Vegas this week for this year’s convention and it only made sense to try and recognize just how far we’ve come while working on making things even better in this next year. On Thursday, June 6th from 3:00 – 5:00, we are joining together with our partners – Building Design + Construction – to have a party. Just click here to register for this free event but act quickly as registration is limited to the first 125 people.
Other than this 2-hour window where Andrew and I will get to socialize with folks, this will be a very busy work trip for us. In addition to attending seminars and collecting continuing education credits, we will be recording 3 episodes – all of which will have guests. One of the goals Andrew and I have for this next year is to have more guests on the program – certainly some more diversity – so that we can inject some alternative insight and information into our episodes. It was my decision to limit the number of guests so far simply because I wanted to makes sure that I had resolved all the issues I had with simply recording two people with consistency in the sound quality, all the while to try and find our voices as a team (shocking, but it hasn’t been as easy as I thought it was going to be.)
Since we take the sound quality of our episodes seriously, there were reservations over recording so many episodes on the expo floor. I don’t believe it would be a stretch to imagine that people might whoop and holler a bit around us as we were recording – I’ve now listened to enough podcasts that have been recorded in a live environment an audio quality is a bit lacking. So what are we going to be doing that will make this any different from the others? We are having a SnapCab Pod M from Steelcase flown in specifically for our use while recording. The SnapCab Pod will be set up in the BD+C booth for people to check out and if you happen to come by during one of our recording session, we are intending to broadcast the audio to speakers situated outside.
Our current schedule for recording is:
1:15 – 2:45 (Topic: “Architects Should Work Construction” with guest Nicholas Renard AIA, Huber booth #5911)
3:00 – 4:00 Interviews (BD+C booth #2431)
10:00 – 11:30 (Topic: “Starting Your Own Architecture Firm” with guest Michael Hsu AIA, BD+C booth #2431)
3:30 – 5:00 (Topic: “Is that Even Legal?” with guests Mike Koger, AIA Esq. and Salvatore B. Verrastro AIA, BD+C booth #2431)
As I typed the above schedule out, it felt a little incommensurate with the amount of work and effort it has taken to get to this point. I was somewhat tempered with the amount of work a podcast would take of my free time since I’ve been writing this blog for so many years. The difference between the blog and the podcast is that a) there are more people involved, and b) I failed to consider how much prep work I would be putting in just to get to the point where we could hit “record” and start talking. I like to be prepared to head into these recordings (although if you listen, you might debate the effectiveness of that preparation) but nevertheless, I spend considerable time and effort to prepare what I call “run sheets” – typically 3-4 pages of notes to make sure that I don’t lose my way and forget the message I was trying to deliver. Since I am prone to going down limitless rabbit holes when I speak casually, these run sheets are my lifeline to what I believe yields a podcast worth listening to on a regular basis.
Last, but certainly not least, is the swag we are bringing with us. I am infamous for not wanting to pick up anything from vendor booths – mostly because I don’t want to carry it around. There has been one exception over the years, and that is buttons (or “Flair” if you are a fan of “Office Space”). For some reason, I tend to grab buttons so for that reason, I decided that we would have our own buttons to pass out to the people that are kind enough to come to pay us a visit … but because I am me, there is a slight twist to our buttons. The first four buttons shown above are your basic grab-one-out-of-a-bowl-never-to-be-seen-again button, but the 5th button up there is special and if you listen to the podcast, you might know why (if you don’t, just listen to Episode 23: The Fun Show and skip ahead to the 52-minute mark and listen to the next 4-minutes). There will be a limited number of these buttons available and in order to get one, I think you will need to ask for it – consider it our special Thank You to the people who have been supporting us so far.
Cheers to you all, looking forward to seeing you in Vegas!